India: No environmental approval for solar per new draft law


India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued a draft notification on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) removing the requirement for environmental approval of new solar projects.

This is according to reports on Mercom India.

The legislation extends to the expansion and modernisation of existing projects in any part of the country, and supersedes the EIA notification 2006 and the amendments made subsequently.

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The Ministry has reportedly extended the date for public opinion, suggestions, or objections until the 30th of June.

The draft has noted other projects that will not require prior environmental clearance or permission that potentially bode ill for the country’s decarbonisation efforts. This includes coal and non-coal mineral prospecting and lime quarrying.

According to Mercom, UK renewable energy engineering company Wind Pioneers has lodged a formal objection, and requested the immediate withdrawal of new draft law, citing the need to strengthen the role of environmental and social protection of people and nature. A letter bearing the names of 15 member signatories was submitted to India’s minister of environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar.

“The Ministry continues to approve mining, industrial, and construction projects in the name of societal development without due allowance to environmental costs. Several of the projects have come under severe backlash from local communities for polluting ecosystems, water sources, and forceful occupation of local farmland and coastal areas,” the letter reads.

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